China used the 70th anniversary of World War II D-Day landings on Friday to praise Germany for its contrition over its wartime past and slam Japan for what Beijing views as Tokyo's continued denial of its brutal history.
China has increasingly contrasted Germany and its public remorse for the Nazi regime to Japan, where repeated official apologies for wartime suffering are sometimes undercut by contradictory comments by conservative politicians.
Ties between the two Asian rivals worsened on December 26 when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, which China sees as a symbol of Tokyo's past militarism because it honors war criminals along with millions of war dead.
"Germany's sincere remorse has won the confidence of the world,'' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing, when asked about the D-Day anniversary.
"But in Asia on the Asian battlefield, the leaders of Japan, which caused harm and which lost the war, are to this day still trying to reverse the course of history and deny their history of invasion,'' Hong added.
"What Japanese leaders are doing has been widely condemned in the international community. We again urge Japan's leaders to face up to and deeply reflect on the history of invasion and take real steps to correct their mistakes to win the trust of its neighbors in Asia and in the international community.''
Japan's government and Abe himself have repeatedly said that Japan has faced up to its past sincerely.